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More women of influence needed.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats


29 October 1998




More Women of Influence needed


The Government must change the way it views and treats women and unemployed persons to ensure they are able t o take their place in powerful institutions and society as a whole, said the Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.


Senator Stott Despoja, who was today voted the most popular role model for working women and the second most influential woman in Australia, was speaking to over 250 women at the NSW State Chamber of Commerce National Enterprising Women luncheon.


“As of July 1999 merely 56 of the 224 Federal parliamentarians will be women, translating to just 25 percent — and this is an improvement on the current figure of 53.


“While the number of women in Parliament is slowly rising, this representation is still not extending to executive power, with only one Cabinet Minister being a woman.


Senator Stott Despoja also addressed barriers in the workplace, including the under-representation of women in management and women being paid less on average than men:


“It is important we address the nature of work, our changing workforce, economic growth and the recognition of work in the home.


“One of the greatest challenges is how we instil a creative approach to working in a generation which faces such high levels of youth unemployment.


“This Government has done very little to address these issues. It’s only initiative has been the implementation of the failing Job Network, which will continue to cause confusion in the labour market without comprehensive review and reform.


In response to being named the most popular role model for working women, Senator Stott Despoja concluded:


“This is the most precious reward I have received. It is the culmination of my work in politics and I am deeply honoured.”


Senator Stott Despoja will be speaking at the NSW Chamber of Commerce

Women of Influence luncheon at the Star City Casino, Pyrmont, at 12:30pm and

will be available for comment after the speech.


To arrange comment, contact Senator Stott Despoja on 0418 812 589 or

Catherine Wolthuizen on (02) 6277 3645